Op-Eds

In-depth features and interviews, and photo essays   
  1. When American journalist Megan Stack moved to China, in 2010, she knew her life was at a crossroads. Having spent the previous decade working as a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, “I was at a point when I was burned out on travelling and reporting,” she says, speaking from yet another “new” home in Singapore. Stack’s last posting, in Russia, had followed a five-year spell covering the Middle East – “a huge beat” she notes with understatement, adding that she had worked in every…
  2. He’s a wide-shouldered defenceman from Canada’s ice-hockey heartland, currently playing with the Calgary Hitmen in North America’s Western Hockey League (WHL), a junior league for players aged under 20. At 182cm (6ft) tall and 93kg (205 pounds), the 19-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba is an old-style rearguard with a game built around hulkish power in a league that gets faster every year. In June 2018, he was drafted by the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks. The name on his shirt…
  3. Making ends meet: I was born in a town called Cuckfield, in Sussex, south of London, in 1988. I have a small but close-knit family. My mum worked as a solicitor’s PA and my dad was a pilot for British Midland, and I’ve got an older sister. My parents put my sister and I through private school, which was the best gift I ever got from them, but because of that they didn’t have much else. When I was 12, we were struggling to make ends meet and it looked like I might be taken out of school –…
  4. El Invernadero sits at the top of Calle Ponzano, a trendy street synonymous with tapas and cocktails in Madrid’s central Chamberí neighbourhood. Its block, though, is quiet and nondescript. From the outside, chef Rodrigo de la Calle’s Michelin-starred restaurant is rather inconspicuous; inside, understatement – not minimalism – reigns. The dining room is intimate and stylish, with leafy plants and glazed, apple-green wall tiles offsetting speckled white walls and bare, dark wood tables. The…
  5. Hemmed in by abrupt mountain inclines and the deep waters of its legendary harbour, Hong Kong’s skyline is notorious for stacking people and public services on top of one another, the most vertical city in the world, rising ever higher to make contact with the clouds. Thousands of kilometres across the Pacific Ocean, in California, Los Angeles occupies the opposite end of the urban spectrum, with its limitless sprawl of single-family homes beneath an endless sky. These metropolises seem…
  6. The past decade in technology started out relatively innocently before growing moody, dark and disillusioned.In 2010, we were excited about new iPhones and finding old friends on Facebook, not fretting about our digital privacy or social media’s threat to democracy. Now we are wondering how to rein in the largest companies in the world and reckoning with wanting innovation to be both fast and responsible.Over the past 10 years, new technology has changed how we communicate, date, work, get…
  7. Bookish boyhood: I was a studious kid. Like my five brothers and sisters, I learned piano from my mother, Carol, and played the violin. I wonder if my experimental approach to language was shaped by that early immersion in music, because music has syntax, too, of repetition and variation. My father, Chris, is a German translator who also studied Russian, so I loved reading from a young age and would digest books whenever I could, even at the dinner table. Growing up, our shelves were full of…
  8. Twenty-year-old Wang Chenghan watched the swarm of people scrabble, children and adults both, falling over each other to wave wildly into the air above. A few twirled their shirts above their heads, others jumped for joy and embraced, ignoring the patrol­ling Japanese guards around them. Wang, or Eddie as he was affectionately known, felt a jolt of tenderness pulsate through his fear as he looked down on the silent shouts from the plane. Two-and-a-half hours earlier, he had boarded the…
  9. On a Sunday night, exactly 22 weeks after the protests against an extradition bill had begun on June 9, prize-winning Pakistani journalist and novelist Mohammed Hanif checked into his room at Robert Black College, on the University of Hong Kong campus. Until then, the city’s social unrest had usually been confined to weekends; but, two days earlier, Chow Tsz-lok, a student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, had died in unexplain­ed circum­stances while police were…
  10. What pronoun do you use to identify yourself? He? She? They? Something altogether different?It’s a question increasingly asked as acceptance of a spectrum of gender and sexual identities grows. Some languages, such as Chinese and Persian, don’t assign nouns a gender or already have a gender-neutral form for people built in. But in languages whose grammar is traditionally based on exclusively male or female options, the answer to this question can still require an explanation.So how do you talk…